Micropsia is a visual disturbance that causes a person to perceive objects to be smaller than they actually are.
What Is Micropsia?
Micropsia is usually caused by neurological problems, and results in errors of visual perception. A large house might be perceived as a tiny replica, and a large dog could be perceived as smaller than a stuffed animal. Because size helps people perceive depth, micropsia can interfere with depth and distance perception, posing dangers for driving, operating machinery, and completing daily tasks. Micropsia can sometimes lead to dissociation.
What Causes Micropsia?
A wide range of conditions can cause micropsia, and micropsia usually requires neurological testing to uncover the source of the problem. Potential causes of the symptom include:
- Neurological disturbances caused by drug use, as well as brain damage caused by substance abuse
- Migraine headaches
- Temporal lobe seizures, which are among the most common causes of micropsia
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Macular degeneration
- Brain tumors and lesions
- The Epstein-Barr virus, which can lead to mononucleosis in adolescents and young adults
Micropsia is sometimes called “Alice in Wonderland syndrome,” particularly when it results in distortions in body image. It is closely related to macropsia, a condition in which objects appear larger than they really are.
Treatment for Micropsia
Because the causes of micropsia are so varied, proper treatment often requires numerous diagnostic tests such as brain imaging, psychological testing, and gathering a life history. Degenerative conditions that cause micropsia may require surgery, management through medication, and lifestyle changes. Micropsia caused by psychiatric conditions can often be treated with psychoactive medication. Migraine-induced micropsia typically disappears when the migraine goes away, but migraine medication may reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. Anti-seizure medication may help people with epilepsy, and drug abuse treatment may be necessary for people with drug-induced micropsia.
- Intoduction. (n.d.). Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Retrieved from http://www.aiws.info/introduction
- Lipsanen, T., Korkeila, J., Saarij??rvi, S., & Lauerma, H. (2003). Micropsia and Dissociative Disorders. Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, 23(1), 106. doi: 10.1097/00041327-200303000-00060
- Micropsia. (n.d.). Springer Reference. Retrieved from http://www.springerreference.com/docs/html/chapterdbid/184104.ht
Last Updated: 01-17-2018
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